Earlier today, Rocket Man linked to a piece from FrontPage Magazine in which Naseer Flayih Hasan expressed his disillusionment with the European leftists he has met in Iraq. According to Hasan, the prevailing view among many of the leftists he has encountered in Iraq (typically journalists or aid workers) is that the Americans are criminals, the Iraqis who support the American efforts are traitors, and the Iraqi insurgents are resistance fighters. The view is not confined to European leftists, of course — it is the position of the Michael Moore left in this country. And aspects of this view have found their way into the mainstream. Just today, Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote:
We can argue all day that Saddam Hussein was a tyrant whose defeat and humiliation should evoke no sympathy from us. But he did have a functioning country. There was a government in place. People went to work and to the market and to school in relative safety. Can anyone really believe that the U.S.-spawned anarchy has left the Iraqi people better off?
I wonder whether Raspberry would have made the same argument with respect to the American South in 1868. Prior to the Civil War, there was a government in place and people went about their business (or their master’s) in relative safety. Could anyone believe, in 1868, that the anarchy spawned by th Civil War had left southerners better off?
A friend of mine takes the moral analogy between the aftermath of the Civil War and the current situation in Iraq one step further:
In both instances, supposedly “sovereign” regimes announced themselves (Saddam when he seized power in Iraq, and Southerners when they formed the Confederacy). They kept themselves in power in part by popular will (the Sunnis in Iraq and the whites in the Confederacy), but there was also a large and violently oppressed population (the Shia and Kurds in Iraq and blacks in the Confederacy).
A “foreign” sovereign (the United States in both instances). . . went to war with the rogue state. There were, of course, many civilian casualties, not to mention all the other gruesome outcroppings of war. The foreign government won, but the victory was not clear-cut. Indeed, a violent and armed resistance representing the old order continued for years, targeting those who wanted a better day (those persons consisting of the democratic forces in Iraq and the blacks and sympathetic whites in the defeated Confederacy). The KKK continued its insurgency, consisting principally of terror and murder, for years. The Saddam dead-enders will try to do the same in Iraq.
Thus, those leftists who, by ignoring or downplaying the illegitimacy and criminality of Saddam’s regime, are able pronounce the pro-Saddam insurgents “freedom fighters” defying a brutal foreign occupying force are in essentially the same moral position as those who supported the Ku Klux Klan.